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Two great writers write great together

Updated: Jan 12

Today we're introducing our two newest adventure writers, Michael Bramnik and Ivis K. Flanagan. They are a writing team responsible for...


Meet Michael


1. Let’s start simple, who are you? How did you get into gaming as a hobby, and as a profession?

Hello there! My name is Michael Bramnik, and I’ve been gaming ever since my second week of high school when I almost literally walked into a group I knew playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons after hours. Since then, I’ve been playing and serving as a Game Master, Storyteller, and volunteer officer for various D&D editions, World of Darkness tabletop and LARP organizations, and Pathfinder / Starfinder organized play…though much more often as a GM. Being able to craft stories for other people in a shared space where we can let our imaginations go wild for a few hours? This is something I hope to never give up - it helps people recharge, builds communities, forges friendships, and provides safe spaces for anyone with an open mind. As a writer, I get to do all of this on an even bigger scale.


Even though I helped do some LARP rules conversions for Changeling: the Dreaming when I was in my early twenties, I’ve only been working professionally in the industry since 2021. After a decade of volunteering through Paizo’s organized play programs and GMing close to a thousand game sessions, I was invited to submit a writing sample, which turned into a short “Bounty” adventure, then a second, then longer adventures…fast forward a couple of years, and now I’ve written for Paizo, Green Ronin, Evil Genius Games, and several other companies (on projects that I definitely shouldn’t talk about before they are formally announced),


Beyond that, I have a Master’s degree in geology and live one hour away from Indianapolis. Even though I’ve lived near the Great Lakes for most of my life, I’ve had the fortune to visit nearly a dozen countries across three continents, and spent several years doing research for the US Department of Defense.


2. What drew you to Evil Genius Games, what about Everyday Heroes appeals to you, and your writing style?

The very first thing I noticed when meeting the folks at Evil Genius was a sense of, “we want to make this stuff COOL, ya know?!” Now working with my co-author on our second Cinematic Adventure, I can’t say that sentiment has let up. Seeing the work that’s gone into Everyday Heroes makes me proud to be attached to it because all of it has one goal in mind - helping the players feel like the stars of the show.


3. What do you think of the concept of Cinematic Adventures, why did you want to write for one?

If you’ve ever enjoyed an action or monster movie; you probably caught yourself reciting a line, thinking about a particular scene when real-life hands you something reminiscent, or even making a RPG character based on one of your favorites. I love that there is a vehicle to take these kinds of movies and hand them to gamers, so they can pick up the story where the movies leave off.


4. Tell us about your thoughts on the properties you’re working on? When did you first encounter the property and what was your initial reaction to it?

I’m a sucker for dramatic entrances. My first experience with Legendary’s “Monsterverse” was with Godzilla in 2014. When Kong: Skull Island revealed that it was part of the same setting and implied that more was in the offing, that’s when I really began to get excited about these movies. When Ivis and I were asked to tackle Kong (figuratively, of course…I’m not that tall), it let me go ape (...okay, I’ll see myself out) with a thought experiment: just how the heck would humanity handle megafauna like Kong or Godzilla suddenly bursting onto the scene? We explore some of that with our portrayal of Monarch’s goals in Sliver of the Skull, but beyond that maybe I should direct you to Ree Soesbee’s amazing Pacific Rim adventure!


Blue sky on Mars, you say? Oddly enough, that’s actually a thing in real life (during sunrise and sunset, according to NASA probes), so perhaps Total Recall was reality and not just a dream! This is a movie I’ve probably seen a dozen times since it first came out. It’s a great flick to have on when you want pithy Schwarzenegger one-liners, lots of gunfire, and a stunning score by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith. I may have started gaming in the fantasy genre, but science-fiction is a passion for me. Being able to get my (figurative) ass to Mars and bring Cinematic Adventures to the red planet with me is a true joy.


5. What are you excited about bringing to the lore of the properties you are working on?

My academic background is in geophysics, earth/space science education, and history. One of my favorite things to do as a writer is to draw upon these and make sure that the environments our heroes find themselves is a character in and of themselves. Kong: Skull Island, is more narrowly focused on the heroes and their immediate surroundings. With Total Recall, however, our playground is so much larger, bolstered by decades of real-world exploration of our planetary neighbor. Polar ice caps, massive dust storms, marsquakes, the tallest volcano in the solar system, and moons with slowly decaying orbits are all available to us here; not to mention the zero-gravity environment of space itself. I cannot wait for our players to tackle these, and more!


6. What would you tell fans of the property to ensure that it’s in good hands?

Regarding Kong: Skull Island, we can assure fans that even beyond the movies in the Monsterverse and its tie-in comics, our work is reviewed by some of the people at Legendary Pictures itself, since this is an active story-verse that still has much to reveal. Despite being more than 30 years past its initial release, Total Recall has many more tales that can be drawn from its pages. Whether following up on the dream-versus-reality aspect of the film or looking to the pages of the classic short story upon which the movie itself was based, rest assured that we’re pouring a lot of love into these tales as they mutate on the page. If you come to the release party, though, just remember to avoid the elevator.



Meet Ivis


1. Let’s start simple, who are you? How did you get into gaming as a hobby, and as a profession?

Hi, I’m Ivis K. Flanagan, coming to you from the great Queen City - Cincinnati, Ohio. By day you will most likely find me in a classroom, working to develop the critical and creative thinking skills of future generations. Because, as the Genie from Aladdin once said, “Great Minds Think 4 Themselves!” By night you’ll often find me gaming with friends (board games, RPGs, video games, etc.), or doing something to expand my ever-increasing Disney hyper fixation.


I’ve always been into video games, with JRPGs super close to my heart (I will talk about Star Ocean forever if you let me). As for tabletop RPGs, I tried them for the first time when I was 12, but was taught by the group of guys I was trying to game with that, “girls just don’t play RPGs.” Regretfully, I didn’t try again for almost 20 years, when I met some really good people. One afternoon they needed someone else for a table to fire and shook me awake from a nap to come join them. I did. I’ve never once regretted missing that nap.


Since then I have learned to play and run in multiple systems - everything from the fantasy of Pathfinder to space with West End Games Star Wars D6, back to reality with Everyday Heroes, and more. I’ve also been given the opportunity to write for a few different companies, weaving my own tales for people to enjoy. No matter what I do, I always work to make them engaging and safe for that teenage me - a female, LGBTQ+ gamer just looking to find a place where she belongs, because I’ve now learned that it is true: girls don’t just play RPGs. We run them, we organize them, we write them, and so much more.


2. What drew you to Evil Genius Games, what about Everyday Heroes appeals to you, and your writing style?

Everyday Heroes takes what I love most about RPGs–creating story-based characters that shine in their individual ways–and brings it into a modern setting. Combine that with these amazing properties they have the licensing for, and you have a game where players can immerse themselves in the films that they love. The Kickstarter was one that caught my eye when the system was first announced, so when Mike and I were offered the opportunity to work on Kong: Skull Island, I was excited to say yes. Some of my greatest strengths in writing are in creating engaging NPCs and giving players opportunities to make choices, both of which complement Cinematic Adventures and the stories they help GMs jump into with their players.


3. What do you think of the concept of Cinematic Adventures, why did you want to write for one?

Have you ever watched a movie and then started to hypothesize about what happens next? That kind of analysis is something I have done for years, but it was always just that, a hypothesis. Getting to work on Evil Genius’ Cinematic Adventures lets me take those ideas and find ways to spin them into the universe of the movie. From running around with the megafauna of Kong: Skull Island to the ever-evolving situation on Mars in Total Recall, I am excited to see people experience the expansions of the universe my writing partner Mike and I have created, and what next steps they take for themselves.


4. Tell us about your thoughts on the properties you’re working on? When did you first encounter the property and what was your initial reaction to it?

Kong: Skull Island and Total Recall are such different films, but their commonalities are what excite me. Both are high-energy movies where humanity needs to push on to see where they go next.


The first one of these I ever encountered was Kong. My dad and I used to watch movies together, both old and new. King Kong was one of them. The original black-and-white film was a technical wonder for its time, incorporating stop-motion animation and live-action to tell the story of a misunderstood creature. The story intrigued me, and every iteration of the film since has done more to push the story and setting forward, utilizing whatever new technology they could in doing so. Everyday Heroes is that new system in RPGs and getting to use it to further explore the narrative of Kong’s universe is letting me sit on that edge myself, and I couldn’t be more excited.


My dad also had some favorite action heroes when I was a kid, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Chuck Norris being near the top of the list. The fast-paced action of their films, with the good guys, always winning in the end…these films were just FUN. Afterward, I would tell stories about them with my friends, with us always playing the heroes taking down myriads of bad guys. These are some of my favorite memories, and I wouldn’t have them without these movies.


5. What are you excited about bringing to the lore of the properties you are working on?

For both of these properties, I am excited to go deeper into the question of “What do we do next?” Be it through expanding the adventures on Skull Island, or running around Mars, I look forward to asking players to answer the question of how to best keep the environment you’ve been given safe, and at what cost?


6. What would you tell fans of the property to ensure that it’s in good hands?

I’m coming into these stories with nostalgia and reverence for the original stories, as well as a brain for lore in any property I am working on. I will do all that I can to make sure the story aligns with what we all already know, because that is what will make it truly immersive for all of us. I want to work with you to tell new stories in the worlds we love, and am excited to share what Mike and I have come up with!


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